Skip to main content

8 Best Halloween Movies to Watch if You Love ‘Hocus Pocus’

Disney's Hocus Pocus

Spooky season is just around the corner, which means viewers across the globe will be watching reruns of the cult classic Halloween movie, Hocus Pocus. When Disney initially debuted Hocus Pocus in 1993, it didn’t perform very well, either commercially or critically. However, with Disney Channel annually playing reruns of Hocus Pocus every Halloween, the film was rediscovered and gained a very loyal fanbase. In fact, the film has grown so much in popularity over the years, that Disney+ is releasing a long-awaited sequel, Hocus Pocus 2, on September 30, 2022.

The original Hocus Pocus follows the Sanderson sisters—Winnie (Bette Midler), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker), and Mary (Kathy Najimy). The sisters are witches who died in the 1600s in Salem, Massachusetts, but are inadvertently resurrected on Halloween night, in 1993, by a teenage boy, Max (Omri Katz). Together, the witches set out to suck the life force from children so that they can remain resurrected, while Max and his friends attempt to put a stop to their villainy.

Hocus Pocus is family-friendly, a little off-kilter, and very hilarious, with just enough spookiness, witches, and spells to fill viewers with the Halloween spirit. The film is perfect for viewers looking for something a little less gritty than the typical horror film to ring in the Halloween season. Here are 8 more classic, spooky, and silly Halloween movies like Hocus Pocus that you need to add to your Halloween traditions.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas

No one ever really agrees about whether The Nightmare Before Christmas is a Halloween or Christmas movie, so you’ll just have to watch it for both holidays. The Nightmare Before Christmas is a stop-motion animated film from the brilliantly dark and gothic mind of Tim Burton, that premiered on October 13, 1993. The film follows Jack Skellington (Chris Sarandon & Danny Elfman) the Pumpkin King of Halloween Town. Halloween Town annually throws an enormous celebration for Halloween, but when Jack discovers Christmas in Christmas Town, he becomes enthralled with the new holiday. Jack becomes preoccupied with celebrating it, rallying Halloween Town to take over the Christmas holiday.

The Nightmare Before Christmas, like Hocus Pocus, is one of those films you can watch over and over again, without getting tired of it. It’s delightfully quirky and macabre, with still enough holiday and romantic sentiment to be sweet. Meanwhile, the stop-motion was extremely innovative for 1993 and the voice actors and soundtrack give the film its backbone. Not to mention, “This Is Halloween,” is arguably one of the most perfect Halloween songs ever made.


The cast of Disney's Halloweentown

Halloweentown premiered in 1998 and was one of the very first Disney Channel original movies ever made. The film follows Marnie Piper (Kimberly J. Brown), who learns that she is a witch on her 13th birthday. She and her siblings then follow her grandmother, Aggie (Debbie Reynolds), to Halloweentown. Aggie is also a witch, just like Marnie’s mother, Gwen (Judith Hoag), and she is investigating suspicious disappearances in Halloweentown. There, Marnie finds herself training to be a witch while also battling a slew of spooky creatures to protect Halloweentown.

Halloweentown is a family-friendly film that celebrates the spirit of Halloween—filled with the typical witches, broomsticks, and magical spells. However, it is also the tale of a family learning to embrace the magic and spirit of Halloween. In the beginning, Gwen is very averse to anything Halloween or magic-related. As time goes on, though, she begins to grow more understanding of her daughter’s unique abilities and how unreasonable it is to shield her children from Halloween. Halloweentown is a whimsical and sweet film.


michael keaton
(Warner Bros.)

Beetlejuice is another comedy-horror film from Tim Burton that premiered on March 30, 1988. The film follows Adam Maitland (Alec Baldwin) and Barbara Maitland (Geena Davis), a couple who returns to their home as ghosts after dying in a car accident. When a new couple and their daughter, Lydia (Winona Ryder), move into the house, the deceased Maitlands attempt to scare them away. To aid them in their mission, they summon the miscreant ghoul, Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton), who turns out to be much more than they bargained for and wreaks havoc on the family living in the Maitland’s home.

Over the years, Beetlejuice has risen to attain cult status and is a film enjoyed year-round, not just on Halloween. Still, considering its dark and gothic tones, it is the kind of bizarre and comedic horror film perfect for spooky season. The performances are strong, Keaton’s performance as Betelgeuse is one of his best ever, and the film manages to be surprisingly funny and poignant despite the dark material. Meanwhile, Beetlejuice turned pretty much every film convention of the time on its head with its unique premise. For viewers looking for something moderately macabre and a bit bizarre (while still boasting depth), Beetlejuice is the perfect Halloween film.

Addams Family Values

Addams Family Values

What better time to celebrate America’s most macabre family than on Halloween? While there are several Addams family films to watch during the Halloween season, Addams Family Values is one of the very best. Addams Family Values premiered in 1993 and is the sequel to the 1991 film The Addams Family. The film follows the Addams family as they unwittingly cross paths with a serial killer who is dating Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd) and serving as the family’s nanny. Meanwhile, Wednesday (Christina Ricci) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) are sent to summer camp after trying to kill their newborn brother, Pubert (Kaitlyn and Kristen Hooper), several times.

What Addams Family Values does right, is that it does away with the more lighthearted, comedic tones of the films before it and truly just celebrates a family that enjoys being macabre and off-kilter. The film is a dark comedy that puts a comedic spin on topics of murder, torture, and vengeance. Also, the cast, especially Anjelica Huston and Raul Julia, boast very strong performances. Ultimately, if you’re looking to celebrate Halloween with a classic film filled with macabre mirth, Addams Family Values fits the bill.

Hubie Halloween

Adam Sandler in Hubie Halloween

If you enjoyed the sillier side of Hocus Pocus, then Hubie Halloween might be right up your alley. The Adam Sandler film is 50% silly antics and 50% celebrity cameos, with a nice dash of Halloween fun. The film follows the loveable, but dimwitted, delicatessen, Hubie Dubois (Sandler), who loves Halloween. Every year, he appoints himself as Halloween Helper and makes sure his hometown of Salem, Massachusetts, is safe. Despite being ridiculed by the entire town, when residents of the city start getting abducted, it is up to Hubie to save them.

Hubie Halloween isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a Sandler fan looking for a family-friendly Halloween comedy, the film will prove quite enjoyable. Sandler is as funny as ever with his role as Hubie, which almost seems like a reprisal of his role of Bobby Butcher in Waterboy. Meanwhile, the film is practically bursting at the seams with cameos. Seriously, Hubie Halloween stars nearly everyone in Hollywood from big-time actors like Ray Liotta and Ben Stiller, all the way to former Disney channel stars like Karan Brar and Bradley Steven Perry. It boasts a good degree of nostalgia, typical Sander antics, and a nice Halloween setting rife with treats, tricks, and silly costumes.


Matilda (Mara Wilson) celebrates overthrowing the tyrannical Ms. Trunchbull in Matilda.
(TriStar Pictures)

Malita is another film that wasn’t explicitly released as a Halloween film, but that is, nonetheless, frequently revisited every Halloween season. The film premiered in 1996 and is based off of the Ronald Dahl novel of the same name. Matilda follows the neglected child genius, Matilda Wormwood (Mara Wilson), who discovers she has psychokinetic abilities. She uses her powers to overcome her dysfunctional family and Miss Trunchbull (Pam Ferris), the tyrannical principal of Matilda’s elementary school.

As a family-friendly cult classic that delves into all things magical and odd, Matilda makes a perfect Halloween film. The film is a tad bit dark, yet, funny, magical, and very relatable. This film validates the feelings of any child who has been untreated unkindly by adults, and who maybe wished they had the powers to teach certain people a lesson. However, it also has smidgens of hope, as a neglected child realizes she isn’t all alone in the world. Matilda is dark and offbeat, but still manages to be a surprisingly poignant and sweet film.

Casper (1995)

a ghost makes eyes at christina ricci in casper
(Universal Pictures)

Casper premiered in 1995 and was a live-action adaption of the cartoon series of the same name. The film follows the friendly ghost, Casper McFadden (Malachi Pearson), who resides in Whipstaff Manor with his three troublemaking, poltergeist uncles. When a ghost therapist, Dr. James Harvey (Bill Pullman), and his daughter, Kat (Christina Ricci), arrive at the manor to rid the premise of spirits, Casper finds himself falling in love with Kat. However, their young love is challenged as Casper deals with memories of his past life, and Kat deals with her despondent father who searches for the ghost of his late wife.

Casper is the kind of family-friendly Halloween film that appeals to children, while also holding deeper themes to appeal to adults. The CGI in the film is also very incredible for its time period and was one of the first films to feature a fully CGI lead character. Meanwhile, the film is filled with silly, ghostly antics and hauntings. At the same time, the story is actually surprisingly dark, dealing with topics of death and grief. Ultimately, it’s a Halloween movie that features typical spooky-fun, while also being a bit sentimental.


Three of the original Ghostbusters all suited up hunting ghosts.
(Columbia Pictures)

Just like Hocus Pocus, Ghostbusters is a timeless Halloween classic that is a part of countless family traditions across the globe. Ghostbusters premiered in 1984 and follows three parapsychology professors who start a ghost-catching business (after losing their jobs) and dub themselves “Ghostbusters.” The Ghostbusters quickly attain fame as supernatural activity in New York skyrockets. And when a gateway to another dimension begins attracting spirits to New York, it is up to the Ghostbusters to prevent total destruction of the city.

Ghostbusters expertly blends the genres of comedy and horror to create a film that appeals to nearly everyone around the Halloween season. The special effects were compelling for the time period, the performances are excellent, and the premise is unique and entertaining. Not to mention, the catchy theme song will live rent-free in your mind for eternity after seeing the film. It has good humor and the right mixture of silliness and creepiness to make it an enjoyable Halloween film, year after year.

(featured image: Disney)

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

Rachel Ulatowski is an SEO writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, YA literature, celebrity news, and coming-of-age films. She has over two years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.